‘The Boys’ Boss Eric Kripke On What To Expect In Final Season 5, Potential Jeffrey Dean Morgan Spinoff & Season 4’s “Scary” Political Poignancy

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains details of the first three episodes of Season 4 of The Boys, which dropped today on Amazon Prime Video.

“Did it occur to you, it’s harder to stage a f*cking coup with a million eyes on me?” Sage (Susan Heyward) complains to superhero kingpin Homelander (Antony Starr) in the third episode of Season 4 of The Boys.

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In any other show, that would be saying the quiet part out loud, but this being the Eric Kripke steered Prime Video series, the unhinged Supes plan to take over the White House is just one of many spiked flails pounding the narrative in what we now know for sure is The Boys’ penultimate season.

There’s a near experience of supe fellatio ordered by Homelander, a disgruntled A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) becoming a mole for the now MM (Laz Alonso) led Boys, and a lot of jargon from new Seven addition Firecracker (Valorie Curry) that you might have heard from Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene and Megyn Kelly. There’s a murder trial for Homelander that ends pretty quickly in his favor, accusations of grooming against Starlight (Erin Moriarty), a chilling Pizzagate re-creation of sorts, a lot of chemicals being pumped into a lot of people on both sides, a very blood soaked holiday infused Vought on Ice, and some less than flattering Masked Singer and Elon Musk references.

There’s also a presidential election that is contested after the votes are counted.

Oh, there’s cameos by Will Farrell and Tilda Swindon, and the lead character in the show, Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) is dying.

(L-R) Jessie T. Usher, Chace Crawford, Jack Quaid, Eric Kripke, Claudia Doumit, Laz Alonso & Antony Starr (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images)
(L-R) Jessie T. Usher, Chace Crawford, Jack Quaid, Eric Kripke, Claudia Doumit, Laz Alonso & Antony Starr (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images)

Having announced on June 11 that Season 5 would be the end of the Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg EP’d The Boys, showrunner Kripke spoke with Deadline today about what to expect, how Season 4 is going to get the show there, what’s next for him. Kripke also hints how a certain Walking Dead alum’s addition to the series may have a much longer runway.

DEADLINE: So, what’s up with you and wanting to end shows after five seasons?

ERIC KRIPKE: (LAUGHS) Five seasons is a good round number. I just like five.


KRIPKE: I I’ve been thinking about it, and I would speculate that like I was trained on five acts as a television writer. So, it just makes sense to me have enough time to really get to know the characters but not so long that you wear out your welcome.

DEADLINE: Speaking of wearing out one’s welcome. The Boys may be ending after Season 5, but the franchise is going on, with Gen V, the Mexico spinoffs, and perhaps more. So, you’re not really out, right?

KRIPKE: I mean, I still want to be involved. I’m still having the time in my life, and you know, this is still the best job I’ve ever had. But, at least for those shows, I won’t be the day-to-day showrunner. I’ll give notes on scripts, and help them break story when they need me, but not the 24/7 in the grind.

DEADLINE: Looking at Season 4 so far, doesn’t look like Butcher’s going to be around in the grind either, because of the effects of taking Temp V.

Already sidelined by the CIA in the Season 4 opening episode, Butcher seems to get a new lease on life with the emergence of his old buddy Joe Kessler, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Now Kessler is a character in The Boys comics, but already he seems to have a much bigger role here. So, in the penultimate season, where does he and Butcher go?

KRIPKE: The initial notion was Butcher’s a maniac, and almost everyone in Butcher’s life is trying to hold him back.

DEADLINE: For good reason …

KRIPKE: Well, yeah. So, we thought it’d be interesting to create a character that wants to push him forward, who might even be more militant against superheroes than he is And we thought what a combustible nightmare that would be. Basically, in effect, we started talking about needing another Butcher, and that’s obviously no easy task.

To pull that off, you need another leading man, you need someone who’s as charismatic and good as Karl, and let those guys go toe to toe. Thank God this was all around the time that Jeffrey and I were texting. We had been looking for a part for him for while. Now, he was finally available, and once this part came up in the room, I was like, oh my god, this is the planets aligning on this particular part – and they did.

DEADLINE: Even in the first three episodes, it does feel like you’re setting up a Jeffrey Dean Boys spinoff.

KRIPKE: (LAUGHS) Hey, man, if Jeffrey wants to do it, and it works out, who wouldn’t want to Jeffrey Dean Boys spinoff?

DEADLINE: What about a Sage spinoff? Another new character, the smartest person on Earth. An almost off the grid Black woman who now clearly has Homelander’s number after he seeks her out – I mean, Sage’s made the CEO of Vought International, but she’s the real Puppet Master too. What’s that all about?

KRIPKE: We were trying to put our Boys-ian in spin on a very classic comic book archetype of a superhero whose power is their brain. They’re just so brilliant, but they’re always reedy White dudes …

DEADLINE: Like Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards…

KRIPKE: Yes, and what we thought was interesting and provocative was the world’s smartest person could be anyone. So, what if it was a Black woman from a poor neighborhood? And because of that she would have a really hard time of anyone listening to her taking her seriously. So, the irony that like the world’s smartest person, who could cure all of society’s ills, is somebody that no one listens to.

We thought that was something that was really intriguing. It also helped me understand why she’s such a misanthrope. You know, she has a history of nobody listening, and it’s just made her so bitter that she hates humanity.

DEADLINE: In the vein of hating humanity, you have the murderous Homelander on trial in a very Trumpian scenario and stoking the divisions in America with Starlight supporters accused of murder, and more exploding heads. In that there is a Presidential election that kicks off Season 4. There’s a lot of betrayal, cause, hey, it’s The Boys, but what’s your take about dropping something like this storyline in the middle of an election that is already weirder than anything you’ve created fictionally?

KRIPKE: I mean, look, the story was heading there from the beginning or at least from the minute Victoria Newman (Claudia Doumit) was introduced, which was early in Season 2. We were always heading here, and so part of it is this is just where the overall story was going.

By the way, a version of this story is one of the major storylines from the comic books.


KRIPKE: That it happened to fall during an election year, I think that makes it feel …for a show that has always tried to be really current and capturing the zeitgeist. I think it’s another lineup of reality in the show.

You know, I hope people don’t think that it’s too much or too real. I mean, we still have people exploding and a lot of lasers coming out of the eyes, and penises being used in new and exciting ways also

DEADLINE: Yes, but the context is relevant. Also, even more than before, it has the stink of Trump all over it, with that mentality, at least for Homelander and a few others, of “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters,” like Trump said in 2016.

KRIPKE: Well, I certainly feel, and I know a lot of the writers do to that, the immediate future looks scary and is creating anxiety, at the very least. So, you know, we’re just kind of expressing how we feel. I’m not trying to change minds. I’m just trying to communicate my own fear and anxiety about this upcoming year.

DEADLINE: As they used to say, it is once again, ripped from the headlines.

KRIPKE: Yeah, unfortunately, the real world has evolved to reflect more of the show. I think things have gotten so crazy and off the rails, that things happen in reality now all the time that that in the writers room if someone had pitched that we’d have said that was too broad, or insane.

DEADLINE: So, with this beginning the penultimate season and Season 5 being the end, what’s next for you?

KRIPKE: God. I mean Season 5 is easily a two-year stretch. So, I haven’t spent an incredible amount of time worrying about what’s next yet.


KRIPKE: No, because usually from about when you start the writers room, and we started like about a month ago, five weeks ago, to when generally you hit the air, it’s about two years and change. A little early to figure out totally what’s next. But I’m going to focus on finishing this and then have a nap and then see what’s after that

DEADLINE: To that, you made a big blast making it official earlier this week that the show was going to end after five seasons, so where is Season 5 at now? What kind of bloody mess is this all going to end in?

KRIPKE: We’re just figuring it all out now with the writers. I mean, I know where I want it to end up, but we spent the first probably four weeks of the room just talking about like overall mythology and where we want the story to go…

DEADLINE: Broad strokes?

KRIPKE: In the broadest possible strokes, and what we want to have happen in the finale. I know that moment where the title card comes up and it says six months later, and you see where everybody is. I know that. I can really write the last 10 pages of this story right now.

The rest, you know, we have broad strokes, but we’ll figure it out.

DEADLINE: Is that always your method?

KRIPKE: Honestly, I think there’s a danger in figuring too much out. You know, before you’re actually breaking the episodes you want a little room to maneuver. You want your writers to feel like they can surprise you with something. You don’t want to screw it down too tight.

DEADLINE: That’s Season 5, but what about your cameo packed Season 4 that just dropped?

KRIPKE: I love it!

I’m excited to get it out into the world after sitting on it for two and a half years including the strike. Two and a half years from when we just started it to it being complete.

Look, it makes me laugh. I cover my mouth in horror multiple times. I think it delves really deep into every character.

DEADLINE: But you must have had a blueprint. I mean Eric, you’ve been series signaling for ages that this show had a five-season lifespan…

KRIPKE: Yeah, we knew it was five seasons, even though we weren’t allowed to talk about it.

But the penultimate season is the end of Act Two in a movie, right? It’s like the darkest point, the most introspective point. It’s the one where the characters have to emotionally face their existential trauma. So then they’re able to jump onto the roller coaster ride that is the climax of the movie.

DEADLINE: Very cinematic.

KRIKPE: Right?

So, for us, Season Four is wrenching because each character is dealing with the thing they are most traumatized by. But I also have to say, it’s also really, really funny. I have to say we’re as dark as people have accused the show of being, and it is. At the same time, I think I laughed harder this season than I think I ever have before. That might speak to my own personal sickness, but I think Season 4 is really funny.

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